Help with Wiring/Blocks

Discussion in 'DC' started by Gavinn Swann, Nov 29, 2021.

  1. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    I'm brand new to this and have space for a 4x8 I found this one on the site and it is just about perfect. I don't know anything about DC wiring or model RR Wiring in general. I need help dividing it into blocks and figuring out where feeders and such need to go. Any and all help will be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    1) For reliability, regardless of using DC or DCC, a feeder should go to every section of rail no matter how short.
    2) Unless you build something large enough to run two different locomotives in two different directions at the same time on DC, you will not need to worry about block wiring. If you stay in the realm of a 4x8 don't worry about it.
    3) At some that oval will get boring and then, on the next layout, you may want to consider taking the plunge into the world of DCC. It can be done relatively inexpensively.
  3. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    Thank you so very much for the advice. So you're saying if I use for example Atlas code 83 then I'll need to solder feeders to each piece of sectional track?
  4. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I would say what Keith wrote is pretty universal advice. I'll offer a caveat: soldering every piece of snap track can seem like a chore, and will make it difficult to change your plan in the future if you end not not being happy with your first plan. What I have done with several layouts now is starting with a single feeder and only adding additional wires when they are needed.
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  5. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    That's very helpful, thank you. I'm planning on using manual turnouts to keep things simple. Would "suitcase" connections be suitable for my layout?
  6. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Not sure what "suitcase" connections are. Could you provide an example of some sort?
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  7. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    Suitcase connectors put the two wires into the apparatus, I.E bus and feeder. Make sure the metal piece is all the way down, and close the lid. This gives you a secure connection and makes the layout easily adaptable

    Attached Files:

  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Oh those. I do not trust those. I don't use them on my layout and I don't use them on the farm. They don't transfer power that well, and it's almost guaranteed that one of the wires will break after a while. If I need to connect more than one wire together, I prefer to twist the set together and either solder them, or use a wire nut if its temporary.

    Do you have a piece of terminal track of some sort? Most starter sets come with one. If you're not sure about soldering at this point, you can buy rail joiners that have wires soldered to them. Something like this:
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  9. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    I like the pre-wired rail joiners. I have never soldered before and this seems like a great alternative.
  10. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Gavinn, when you wire your layout you want to color code the wires. I used red and black for the mainline, yellow and black for passing tracks and green and black for the yard and spurs.

    I have a hand held throttle that works great, it's about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide and tall with a long cord. A simply power transformer supplies 12 to 14 volts. I will find my photos of it and post them on this thread. It's a good project to learn how to soldier.

    Edit: Spelling correction.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
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  11. Gavinn Swann

    Gavinn Swann Member

    Thanks Joe, that would be helpful
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  12. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Gavinn, I would highly recommend learning to solder since mechanical connections like rail joiners are subject to corrosion and loss of contact. Save up some money and make a trip to the nearest Harbor Freight and buy their Schneider 5 to 50 watt Temperature Controlled Soldering Station and some good Rosin Core Solder (Kester 44 63/37 recommended). Then spend some time watching Youtube videos on soldering. In the long run, you will be far ahead of where I was at. If you have questions, I would be the guy to ask since I have been soldering since age nine (9).

    The key to good soldering is proper heat, clean surfaces, clean soldering tip and good solder. Clean the tip, tin the tip, solder the joint, clean the tip, tin the tip and put the iron in the stand. Repeat.

    The "suitcase" insulation displacement connectors will work IF you stay within the gauge ranges that the connectors are made for. Conductors smaller than what a specific connector is made for will create problems.
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  13. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Gavinn, you also want to get some soldering paste to clean iron tip. It cleans the mating surface of the wires and track, it also makes the solder flow easier.

    I was an electrician when first got out of high school and we did power cabinets for a nuclear power plants in Tennessee. The cabinets had over 700 wires inside that had to be soldered at each end. It took a year to do all of the cabinets for the contract requirements.

  14. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    @Gavinn Swann , Here's the photos of hand held throttle that was originally in the December 1986 Model Railroader magazine. It's a great little device that works really well, just hook it to a low cost transformer that is turned all the way up to supply voltage to throttle. The R1 potentiometer speed controller will adjust the speed of the locomotives. I've run five N scale locomotives with it with no problems and the case was just a little warm but never too hot to hold.










    I like to use 24 gauge telephone wires on the layout's electrical system and solder feeder wires to every section of track and connect them to the main buss. Each end of the main buss should be connected to each other to double the size of the wires. Making it more like 18 gauge wire. My layout is N scale but you shouldn't have any trouble using for HO, it may limit the number of locomotives to three. That's just an estimate, when you use it for the first time monitor how warm the throttle gets as you add locomotives one at a time.

    If you decide to build one let me know if you need help, would be happy to give you a hand. I will send you a PM with my phone number.

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